Cover Image: My Magnolia Summer

My Magnolia Summer

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I enjoyed reading this book by Victoria Benton Frank. Like so many readers, I was a faithful follower of Dorothea Benton Frank, and saddened by the loss of her a few years ago. I am glad her daughter is writing in her honor.

I loved the Sullivan's Island theme of this book, and the adventures in cooking. It is a sweet story of a female chef attempting to make her way in the mostly male dominated professional chef's world of New York City. Maggie leaves her low country home, but the roots remain deep inside her. An accident involving her mother and beloved grandmother sends her back home to South Carolina, and the state of things in the family run restaurant leave Maggie to fill in and try to salvage the legacy. It's a sweet romantic story filled with laughter and sadness.

One minor criticism; local dialect and/or colloquialisms.. As a reader it distracts me. I recognize that people speak differently all over the world, but when I am reading it gives me a false voice in my head that creates an extra tension for me within the story. There are frequent uses of the word "girl" by many of the characters. I respect that is a word often used in casual conversations, but reading it repeatedly did take away some of the dialogue to me. It makes the characters language feel a bit more contrived, and a little more stilted. That said, I truly enjoyed the story line and the setting of the book. I look forward to reading more by Victoria Benton Frank.
Was this review helpful?
What a sweet breath of fresh low country air this book was.  Picking up right where her beloved mother left off, VBF brings us back to the low country with all the drama, sayings, and relationships we love so much.  The “flower girls” band together to help each other through their life’s greatest hurdle.  With humor and a dash of sexy I enjoyed every page.
Was this review helpful?
A story about returning to family after you've left to chase your dream. I you like complicated families (who can't relate?), southern fiction, New York fiction, foodie, fiction, and a little romance, you will love this book!

This is the author's first novel and she had some pretty big shoes to fill. Sometimes I felt the dialog and descriptions were a little clunky but she proved she's capable of fantastic storytelling with dynamic characters. I'm hoping her next book is a continuation of these characters. I'd really like to know how Violet's story unfolds.

I will definitely be looking forward to her next book. I'm adding Victoria Benton Frank to my must read list!
Was this review helpful?
Magnolia, (Maggie) left South Carolina Lowcountry and moved to New York. She became a chef, Winter doesn't seem to want to end, and Maggie starts thinking about the Lowcountry, and it seems like a distant memory.
When she receives a phone call, her Gran is in a coma at the hospital. She flies home to see her Gran and once there, she seems to be at a crossroad. 
The story will keep you reading, both with her life in New York and life as it is in the Lowcountry. It also tells the story of her Gran, her mother, her sister Violet. It is an interesting story, and I was thinking a serious story, but then I would read something that just made me laugh out loud. That's life, and this is their lives. It was nice being transported from my life to theirs for a short time. I highly recommend this book.
I received an ARC from William Morrow through NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 Stars.  What a fabulous debut for Victoria Benton Frank!  She will not be living in her mom’s shadow for long!  She is a superb writer!

My Magnolia Summer tells the tale of Magnolia trying to find her way between her life as a chef in New York City and her past in her hometown of  Sullivan’s Island.   Magnolia is summoned home when her grandma is in an automobile accident.  Magnolia arrives in the low country to help with her grandma’s care, deal with her difficult mother, and provide support to her sister.  You will meet so many wonderful characters along the way!  The characters are well-developed and fun!  This is truly a perfect beach read!

I also enjoyed the cooking references throughout the book and learned some new techniques along the way.  I love the recipe in the back!

Thank you, NetGalley and William Morrow Publishing, for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Oh those summer days gone by that saw me on my back porch or on the beach reading the late great @dorotheabentonfrank’s tales of the Low Country.  I think I read 𝘐𝘴𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘗𝘢𝘭𝘮𝘴 at least seven summers in a row.  I was so sad to read of her passing because she gave me so many years of warm weather reading delight. 

When I saw that her daughter @victoriabentonfrank had a debut novel coming out, I was very intrigued.  Now that I’ve read it, I can tell you that if you loved her mother’s books, you will also love Victoria’s book.  She carries on her mother’s legacy of Low Country tales with many of the same elements but also with her very own captivating voice.  I loved the pacing, the colorful cast of characters and the charming setting.  

This is book one in a new series, and I can’t wait for the next one.  𝘔𝘺 𝘔𝘢𝘨𝘯𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘢 𝘚𝘶𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘳 will be available June 6, and you’re definitely going to want it for your beach bag. 

My thanks to @williammorrowbooks and @netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book before its publication date.
Was this review helpful?
This great novel written by Dorothea Benton Frank will have you longing to visit the Low Country in South Carolina. 5e story is a tale of a relationship between a mother and her daughters. The story has three strong willed women and their opinions. Maggie the chef who lives in New York receives a phone call from her sister Violet that will change her life. Their beloved Gran is sick in the hospital and had brain surgery. Maggie soon discovers the family restaurant the Magic Lantern is failing. Maggie falls in love with a guy and realizes her life belongs in the Low Country.
Was this review helpful?
Wow. Just wow!
I didn't realize who this author was related to, so I had no expectations when I started this book.

This was just a wonderful book. Exactly what I needed to come to of my book slump. This was one of those books that I just didn't want to end.

This is a perfect beach read, and it reads fast. I'll tell you, I didn't want this book to end! I was a tad disappointed that the conclusion was as brief as it was. I would have loved to learn more about the family and how their lives were going on. But, I can see where this might be the start of a series. I do hope that Violet gets her own book!

My Magnolia Summer starts with an interesting look into the workings of a restaurant kitchen and jumps into several family tragedy after another, but don't worry, things work out for the best.

A lovely book about family, home, and personal growth.

*ARC supplied by the publisher William Morrow, the author, and NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Writing for readers who have missed books by Dorothea Benton Frank since her passing in 2019 is her daughter Victoria Benton Frank, who has captured all the elements of fun chick lit set in South Carolina Lowcountry. My Magnolia Summer, out June 6, is the story of a family of strong women with the focus on sisters Magnolia and Violet Adams.

Hard to believe Maggie would choose New York City over her roots in Sullivan’s Island, but she’s killing it there on her way to becoming a culinary chef. The days are long and hard as she works her way up in the kitchen career she has chosen, and a phone call from Violet changes everything with the news that their mother and grandmother have been in a serious car accident.

Maggie heads to Sullivan’s Island where she finds her grandmother Rose in a coma and her mother Lily has fallen off the wagon. Equally troubling is that The Magic Lantern, the family-owned restaurant, has deteriorated after having been turned over to Lily and her boyfriend Buster. The pair have changed the menu from homestyle cooking and created a pirate-themed dining room, neither of which is helpful for the future of the business.

The logical solution would be for Maggie to stay and take over the kitchen but that would mean giving up her dream of being a chef in the Big Apple. Her sister Violet has been trying to help out in the restaurant working in the front and with paperwork, but the kitchen has become a frozen food disaster instead of the place where family recipes were prepared to the delight of the customers. In addition, Violet is pregnant with a baby whose father is not ready to make any commitment.

The Adams women have been going strong since great-grandmother Daisy opened the restaurant, and Maggie and Violet are determined to find a solution to all of the situations they face including a hospitalized grandmother, a bitter and broken mother, and a business that has been turned upside down.

Victoria Benton Frank partnered with her mother to create the children’s book Teddy Spaghetti (2020). Frank was born in New York City and raised in Montclair, New Jersey. A graduate of the College of Charleston and the French Culinary Institute, she worked in restaurants in New York before returning to Charleston, South Carolina, with her family.

My review will be posted on Goodreads starting May 8, 2023. 

I would like to thank William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for an objective review.
Was this review helpful?
Victoria Benton Frank's debut novel My Magnolia Summer is southern fiction, in the vein of her mother Dorothea Benton Frank.  I hope that this is the first book of a successful writing career because I really enjoyed the story.  I am a sucker for any book set in the low country.  

Maggie is a chef working in a highly respected restaurant in NYC, but the rest of her life hasn't turned out quite how she expected.  When she has to rush home to Sullivan's Island due to a family emergency, Maggie starts to re-evaluate her priorities and confronts some demons from her past.  The storyline was a little predictable, but h0nestly, it didn't bother me.
Was this review helpful?
A great summer beach read option about a Southern family, their dwindling restaurant business and the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters. 

I really enjoyed this debut from the daughter of the late Dorothea Benton Frank. Her daughter liberally sprinkles references to her mom and her books throughout the story in a touching memorial. 

Fans of books about intergenerational family stories and foodies will enjoy this one. Perfect for anyone who loved the Reese Book Club pick, The chicken sisters and good on audio too. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review!

CW: alcoholic parent
Was this review helpful?
The perfect lowcountry beach book read!!   Southern family roots at its best. 
Returning home for a family emergency helps you find yourself 
A deck are read and a new author for me !
Was this review helpful?
My Magnolia Summer by Victoria Benton Frank is truly a phenomenal debut. 

I was utterly and completely blown away by Frank’s writing.
The vivid images that Victoria Benton Frank created were captivating.
The characters are well rounded and quite entertaining. They were unique and vivid. I loved it. 
It's was easy to get drawn into the lives of her characters and story lines.
The author gives us a wonderful look at the familial relations. 
It was both entertaining and very interesting. 
The setting of Sullivan's Island, South Carolina was both enchanting and beautiful. I was immediately sucked into this story and place with this family and if I’m being honest I didn’t want to leave. She captured the true Southern low-country life perfectly.
Frank’s writing is vibrant, creative and charming- I enjoyed it so much. 
If you love good women's fiction novels with wit and drama and romance then you’ll love this novel. 
I now have a new favorite author who I can’t wait to read more of!
This story was just amazing in every way possible. 

(I have yet to read her mother’s books, but after reading this I might have to look into them.)

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

Thank You NetGalley and William Morrow for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
Was this review helpful?
This was a good book. I don’t know how much Dorothy Benton Frank had a hand in this book but it was well written and definitely readable. Perhaps this book had more drama going on and a little less of the southern belle, but it kept my interest. Dorothy’s writing was more genteel and mannerly. She wrote of southern women, raised by mothers growing up in the days of yore,  Victoria's women were a little rowdy and a little loud. , this book did not invoke a picture of the Lowlands Southern lifestyle. This book was geographically correct but the same scene could have been found in California. Still, 3.5 stars rated up to 4 stars.
Was this review helpful?
A story of family and how to create a life without losing the best parts of being family. When Magnolia, an aspiring chef in New York City, receives a call from her sister Violet about a family emergency, she finds herself heading back to Sullivan's Island. As Magnolia navigates the crisis, her family, and trying to help out the family restaurant she discovers things about herself. When things begin to settle Magnolia finds herself at a crossroad questioning what she wants in life. Perfect read for a summer weekend or anytime you need an escape to the beach.
Was this review helpful?
When popular Southern author Dorothea Benton Frank died in 2019, her readers knew that we would miss her southern lowcountry stories with quirky characters and feel good endings.  I wasn't sure that her daughter would be able to step into her mother's shoes.  I was wrong to have any doubts.  My Magnolia Summer is a perfect lowcountry book to read on your trip to the beach and if you can't get to the beach, the book will make you feel like you've just vacationed there.

Magnolia - known as Maggie - is a chef in New York City.  Even though she misses her South Carolina home and family, she knows that if she keeps working long hours for little pay, she'll be promoted to a higher place in the kitchen and eventually be able to open her own restaurant.  Her life is unsettled - the main chef is cruel and uncaring and her on-again/off-again boyfriend doesn't promise much of a future.  When her beloved grandmother and her mother are   in a car accident, she heads home immediately.  When she gets there, she finds that her mother wasn't injured but her grandmother is in a medically induced coma.  She also finds out that the family restaurant run by her grandmother has been changed - and not for the better.  Instead of French cooking and homemade pastries, it now offers fried fish and cheap entrees from cans.     Her alcoholic mother and her new boyfriend have made the changes.  Her mother and sister both believe that Maggie thinks she's better than they are because she works in a restaurant in New York and there isn't much apparent love between the three of them but Maggie agrees to stay on Sullivan's Island long enough to work with her sister to get the family restaurant back into being a popular place for home-cooked southern meals.  Will the two sisters be successful with their plans for the restaurant and will Maggie accept the offer for a promotion at a new restaurant in New York and leave her family again?

This is a delightful book about family and the love between three generations of  strong women.  There are some tears, a good helping of romance and some laugh out loud moments.  Be sure to toss it in your beach bag when you head to the beach!
Was this review helpful?
What a beautiful story! I loved her mother's novels and now I found her to love as well! She is a real talent. This was an easy book to escape in for a day. You won't be disappointed! 

Many thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for my ARC!
Was this review helpful?
Wow, what a wonderful novel but new and upcoming Victoria Benton Frank! This book would be perfectly paired with a frose from Sullivan’s Island while sitting on a rocking chair on a front porch. I quickly fell in love with this family and their story. It had the perfect amount of drama without being too heavy. I loved it!
Was this review helpful?
******Publishing June 6, 2023****

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Magnolia (Maggie) returns to Sullivan’s Island after her grandmother was in a car accident that left her in a medically induced coma. Magnolia works as a relief chef for a popular NYC restaurant.  Magnolia has been so focused on her career to the point that she hasn’t been back to visit her family in years. When she gets the call she needs to return to Sullivan Island, will this be the push she needs to figure out her life? I loved how the author described Magnolia returning to Sullivan Island as “finding her wings”! It perfectly describes where Magnolia is in life and pushes her to reexamine her own  relationship with her family. When Magnolia discovers all the problems facing her family, she decides to put her NYC life and career on hold to help her sister Violet get the family restaurant back to being successful with home-cooked meals again. In the end, will this make her happy? Will she be able to find more clarity or will her life continue to spiral out of control? This book will have you turning the pages as Magnolia discovers who she is and what is really truly  important to her in life! 

Did you know that Victoria Benton Frank is daughter of the late Dorothea Benton Frank? My Magnolia Summer is her debut novel and it’s fantastic!  A beautifully written book that will make you laugh, cry, and even shake your head at times. Even though this book highlights how complicated family and work relationships can be, it is entertaining. 

I really enjoyed all the cooking tips in this book as this author once was a chef! 

Be sure to add this book to your pool or beach bag! It will bring you hours of entertainment! A great book club pick as well as it will lead to many interesting discussions.

Thanks to William Morrow, I was provided an ARC of My Magnolia Summer by Victoria Benton Frank via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Such a great beach read! If you need to take a mental vacation then this is the book for you to read! I highly enjoyed it and will continually recommend it to patrons as the beach read of Summer 2023. A highly enjoyable family saga.
Was this review helpful?